ASH Daily News for 03 January 2017

  • E-cigarettes are still far safer than smoking
  • Children encourage smokers to give up this New Year
  • North East: Fresh Director Ailsa Rutter receives OBE
  • Scotland: Tobacco industry report on illicit sales
  • Giving up smoking isn’t easy but it could save your life
  • Holland is considering new laws to ban the display of tobacco products
  • E-cigarettes are still far safer than smoking

E-cigarettes are still far safer than smoking

Writing in the Guardian, Professor Linda Bauld discusses the evidence on e-cigarettes.

January is a time for New Year’s resolutions including stopping smoking, but with headlines continuing to highlight the supposed dangers of e-cigarettes smokers may not want to use them in quit attempts. Incorrect perceptions about the relative harms of using an e-cigarette as compared to smoking have risen year on year from fewer than one in ten adults in Great Britain in 2013 to one in four by summer 2016.

However, increasingly the evidence base is showing these harm perceptions to be incorrect. In April 2016 the Royal College of Physicians published an authoritative report analysing results from a broad range of studies and concluded that the hazard to health arising from long term vapour inhalation from e-cigarettes is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco.

Yet, internationally there is no consensus position on e-cigarettes. In September 2016 the World Health Organisation published a report which encouraged severely restricting access to these products. This was followed by a report from the US Surgeon General in December which described e-cigarette use by young people as a major public health concern. The report did not compare the risks of smoking and vaping, failed to make clear that e-cigarettes are not tobacco products, and drew conclusions about nicotine that would also apply to Nicotine Replacement Therapy.

These reports have largely ignored the regulations already in place (including in all EU countries) to protect the public from any risks from e-cigarettes. Professor Bauld argues that e-cigarettes have a huge potential to save lives, but this can only be realised by addressing negative perceptions and increasing the evidence base. For those attempting to quit, she urges that use of e-cigarettes must be supported.

See also:
– Nicotine without smoke: Tobacco harm reduction, Royal College of Physicians

Source: The Guardian – 02 January 2017
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Children encourage smokers to give up this New Year

A new campaign has been launched encouraging smokers to quit for the sake of heart health.

Public Health England (PHE) has launched a new film showing the dramatic effect that smoking has on the heart, highlighting that 45 people a day, and over 16,000 a year, die from cardiovascular disease caused by smoking.

The short film features children’s TV doctor, Dr Ranj, working with primary school children to create their own heartfelt messages about the dangers of smoking to the heart and circulatory system.

Professor Kevin Fenton, PHE National Director for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We know that one of the main triggers that encourages people to quit smoking, alongside the health benefits, is their family. Working with children to encourage their family to quit is a new element to our annual January Smokefree campaign. I hope the childrens’ heartfelt pleas will resonate with smokers around the country to encourage them to take advantage of the free campaign tools and support available, and to make 2017 the year they quit for good.”

Source: Public Health England – 30 December 2016
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North East: Fresh Director Ailsa Rutter receives OBE

Ailsa Rutter, Director of regional tobacco control office Fresh North East, has been honoured in the New Years’ Honours list with the receipt of an OBE for her services to tobacco control.

Source: Chronicle Live – 30 December 2016
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Scotland: Tobacco industry report on illicit sales

An undercover investigation, carried out on behalf of tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris, has found that illicit cigarettes are being sold for as little as 50p in Scotland, and often to children underage.

Sources of the illicit cigarettes ranged from individuals to small high street shops and off-licences.

Will O’Reilly, a former Scotland Yard detective chief inspector, led the investigation for Philip Morris. He believes the unchecked nature of the illicit market could pose greater health risks for smokers, especially young people who can be drawn into addiction through the availability of cheap tobacco.

In 2016 the Tobacco Manufacturers Association, funded by the tobacco industry, found that four in ten Scottish smokers admitted to sometimes smoking illicit tobacco, and blamed tobacco control measures such as price rises. However, tobacco control group ASH Scotland has argued that tobacco manufactures have wrongly blamed the government’s decision to standardise all cigarette packets for the perceived rise in the illicit market, against figures from HMRC suggesting the market is declining.

Source: The Sunday Times – 01 January 2017 (£)
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Giving up smoking isn’t easy but it could save your life

Robert West, Professor of Health Psychology at University College London, has spent 30 years researching how to help people stop smoking and has given his opinions on various methods and aids to quitting.

Research shows that nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) can be effective aids to quitting. Studies show the most effective method is use of nicotine patches alongside one other product such as gum or lozenges, which helps reduce cravings for nicotine.

The best evidence is to talk to a specialist stop smoking adviser alongside using Champix or NRT. The most popular method for quitting is using e-cigarettes and current evidence shows that these can be effective in helping people quit; research published in the BMJ suggests they helped an additional 18,000 smokers quit in 2015.

Professor West emphasises that there is a need to keep on trying and that just because previous quit attempts have failed does not mean that a smoker will never be able to quit. He notes that what works for one smoker will not necessarily work for another so smokers should be encouraged to try a range of methods to find the one that works for them.

Source: The Sun – 02 January 2017
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Holland is considering new laws to ban the display of tobacco products

The Dutch Government is working on draft legislation which would ban the display of tobacco products in shops and petrol stations, Junior Health Minister Martin Van Rijn has announced to Parliament.

The tobacco industry had been given time to develop their own proposals but had failed to deliver anything considered adequate.

Source: NL Times – 23 December 2016
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